Rugby: Sanzaar eyes trans-Tasman hosts for Rugby Championship, as bubble looms

Crunch talks have been held between Sanzaar, Rugby Australia and NZ Rugby, as planning ramps up for this year's Rugby Championship.

Newshub understands Sanzaar is determined to host the tournament across both countries and confirmation of a trans-Tasman bubble has brought the idea closer to reality. 

But it may not be that simple, with both unions being told to prepare their best pitch to host the tournament on their own. 

"Probably the best rugby decision we could make in the best-possible environment is to have games across Australia and New Zealand," says Sanzaar chief executive Brendan Morris.

But the changing environment over the last 12 months has proved there are no guarantees, and Sanzaar is urging both the NZR and RA to be ready to host the tournament outright, if need be.

"We know that there's no certainty at the moment, so we've got to make the best plans we can given the information we've got at the time, but also have some pretty strong contingencies that sit behind it," Morris adds.

NZR remains coy on whether a cross-border competition is its preferred option, but is optimistic about what two-way travel means for the Rugby Championship.

"It's going to be very helpful," says NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum. "It opens up both sides of the Tasman for hosting, at a minimum."

The idea of playing in both countries also has the tick of approval from the players.

"That would suit everyone a lot better," says All Blacks midfielder Jack Goodhue. "I guess Super Rugby Trans Tasman will be the tester and from there, hopefully, everything progresses really well."

After a one-year hiatus, South Africa are expected to rejoin the tournament. 

They'll likely enter the Australian side of the bubble, where quarantine restrictions are more relaxed, particularly in regards to training as a team."

"We're keen to work together and get the best rugby outcome," adds Morris.

The challenges facing the All Blacks this year look likely to remain on the field, rather than off it.

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